Since 2000, how much has your average hourly wage gone up?
If you are in the upper crust, the answer may be staggering. If not, perhaps the following chart more closely resembles your experience.
Average Hourly Earnings 2000-2012
Just the Facts Ma'am
The average hourly earnings was $13.75 on January 1, 2000.
The average hourly earnings is currently $19.84.
Since 2000, average hourly earnings are up 44.29%
Bear in mind, those are averages. Don't be surprised if you are much worse off because of distributional skew (huge wage increases at the high end pull the average up).
Moreover, the above chart does not reflect sales taxes, property taxes, state income taxes, gasoline taxes, fees, etc., all of which are way higher now than in 2000. In other words, the chart reflects average hourly wages, not spendable income.
Actual spendable income is up far less than 44%.
It's a peculiar thing how the CPI does not properly account for tax hikes.
While pondering those thoughts, please consider federal spending.
The following table will show the purported "revenue problem" in Congress, is without a doubt really an "out of control spending problem".
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense--Military Programs
Department of Education
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of the Interior
Department of Justice
Department of Labor
Department of State
Department of Transportation
Department of the Treasury
Department of Veterans Affairs
Corps of Engineers--Civil Works
Other Defense Civil Programs
Environmental Protection Agency
Executive Office of the President
General Services Administration
International Assistance Programs
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation
Office of Personnel Management
Small Business Administration
Social Security Administration (On-Budget)
Social Security Administration (Off-Budget)
Other Independent Agencies (On-Budget)
Other Independent Agencies (Off-Budget)
Undistributed Offsetting Receipts
Problem in a Nutshell
Average salaries are up 44%.
US spending is up 112%.
The idea behind this post comes from a friend, Bob Gudas.
I downloaded the excel spreadsheet, hid all columns except 2000 and 2012, then calculated the percentage difference discarding a few columns where the numbers were negative or the calculations infinite.
Wages are up 44%, military spending is up 145%, total outlays are up 112%.
Let's dig deeper.
What are veteran's affairs programs and homeland security? By any rational measure of sanity, those programs constitute defense spending.
How much of NASA is really defense spending? How much of department of education spending is free tuition for those putting in military service? What about the department of state? How much of the cost of building the embassy in Iraq and other places is buried there?
Let's go further yet and investigate the 2012 OMB budget. Specifically, consider the separate budget item of $96.7 billion for "Overseas Contingency Operations".
Where was that line item in 2000?
What about the "National Intelligence Program" at 52.6 billion? Is that not defense?
Let's ignore all of that and simply total up Defense, Homeland Security, and Veteran's Affairs.
2000 Total (281,028 + 13,159 + 47,044) = 341,231
2012 Total (688,254 + 60,443 + 129,186) = 877,883
Percentage Increase 157%
I suggest defense spending is out of control, as is nearly everything else.
Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare and Medicaid are not broken out in the spreadsheet, so here are the numbers from the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget (which contains the most current estimate of 2012 spending), and the Fiscal Year 2002 Budget (which contains actual spending for 2000).
Medicare 2000: 200,588 Medicare 2012: 480,202
Medicaid 2000: 117,744 Medicaid 2012: 283,597
Medicare spending is up 139% Medicaid spending is up 140%
Where's the Problem?
All things considered, what's the bigger problem? Failure to collect more taxes, or out of control spending?
It's Only Make Believe
Regardless of your answer to the preceding question, one thing is for certain: The purported effort to balance the budget is nothing more than an exercise in make believe.
With a tip of the hat to Conway Twitty I offer this musical tribute.
Can we get President Obama, Ben Bernanke, and John Boehner to do a remake? If so, we need background vocals. I propose Nancy Pelosi, Dick Cheney, Hank Paulson, Barney Frank, Tim Geithner, along with international rock stars Angela Merkel, Shinzo Abe, and Mario Monti.
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